Ballyclare RFC continue to inch towards the Qualifying League Section 2 title and much sought after promotion, with Carrick their latest victims.
Cheered on by a large travelling support, Bob Young’s side whitewashed the hosts 25-0 at Tom Simms Memorial Park, where Carrick seldom seriously threatened the visiting line.
Winger Adam Wardrop scored two of his side’s three tries, with prop David Lawther getting the other, while full back Robert Smith contributed 10 points - two conversions and a brace of penalties.
Ballyclare dominated the opening quarter, but resolute defending prevented Wardrop, Niall Lawther and Jonny Reid from getting their names early on the scorecard.
Smith failed with a penalty, but soon afterwards his kick out of hand had the home defence stretched, and when the ball was recycled Wardrop opened the scoring with a touchdown that Smith goaled.
Skipper Robert Boyd was in sparkling form, and one of his thrusts led to Wardrop being fouled, with Smith converting the resultant penalty to give his side a merited 10-0 lead at the break.
In a tough and physical battle, Jordan McKinstry, David Lawther and Gary Weatherup all had to receive treatment for injuries, but they courageously carried on and the Lawther brothers, Niall and David, took play towards the line, where Chris Coburn was held up just short following a line-out.
Niall Lawther thought he had increased the lead, but was pulled back having had a foot in touch, but Smith made no mistake when he slotted over his second penalty.
Another surge by skipper Robert Boyd created space for David Lawther to cross for an unconverted score, that stretched the lead to 18-0.
Carrick then had their best period, but excellent defence by David Crawford, Andy Wylie, Weatherup, Coburn and Jordan McKinstry kept the line intact.
In the closing stages Ballyclare had the final say when Wardrop doubled his personal tally with a try that Smith converted.
This was one of the Ballyclare pack’s best performances of the season, and even though they failed to secure a bonus point, the White Hare lads are well in control in Qualifying 2, with a lead of four points with games in hand.
Ballyclare: R Smith; A Wardrop, D Crawford, J Reid, J Greer; N Lawther, C Morrow; A Boyd, A Wylie, D Lawther, G McKinstry, R Boyd (C), G Weatherup, J McKinstry, C Coburn.
This weekend Ballyclare make the long journey to Enniskillen for a league fixture, before taking on Clogher Valley at The Cloughan on 25th in the second round of the Towns’ Cup.
The 4th XV saw off Ards III in the first round of the Forster Cup at The Cloughan where the locals coasted to a 19-0 win.
In the first half, four penalties were missed by John Wasson (3) and Gareth Byers, so the scorecard was still blank at the break despite home domination.
The visitors continued to be on the defensive in the second session and, eventually, full-back Stephen Bailie broke the deadlock with an unconverted score.
Two more were added afterwards by Noel Smith, and Wasson goaled both to seal a comprehensive win.
In the next round Ballyclare have a home draw against Randalstown II.
A black tie corporate fund-raising dinner will be held in Dunadry Inn on Saturday 25th, and tickets are still available.
Saturday’s fixtures: Enniskillen v Ballyclare; Omagh II, v Ballyclare II; Randalstown II v Ballyclare IV.